Fennel and Fish Soup

This looks very impressive but is really quite easy, the only tricky part is getting fish stock. I love the licorice taste of the fennel combined with the cod – it is an unusual flavour combination but it works. This soup could be served as an entree or for summer time it could be a light meal in itself accompanied with a big green salad.

4 cod fillets
1 bulb of fennel chopped, and sprigs removed (but save these)
2 shallots sliced
4 star anise
100ml white wine
1 litre fish stock
100ml double cream
1 tablespoon of olive oil
Salt and pepper
10g butter
10g vegetable oil
4 slithers of orange peel

1. Sweat the shallot, fennel and a star anise in the olive oil until soft but not coloured. Add the white wine and reduce until the mixture thickens. Add the stock and simmer for 25 mins.
2. Remove the star anise and add the cream. Bring back to a simmer and remove from the heat. Allow to cool slightly before using a food processor to blend.
3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4. Heat the vegetable oil in a frying pan on high heat. When almost smoking place the cod in and cook until golden on one side, however the fish can still be uncooked in the centre. Lower the heat and add the butter. Replace the fish coloured side up in the pan and cook by spooning the frothing butter over the fish until just cooked through.
5. Ladle the soup into shallow bowls and place the cod in the centre. Sprinkle with the reserved fennel sprigs and some orange peel to serve.

This recipe is from John Benbow at Food at 52.

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